‘Echo at Satsop’ is my first film, which I directed and produced. It was filmed entirely at Satsop, a decommissioned nuclear plant facility in Elma, Washington, USA.
The making of this film began with my response to the triple disaster that occurred in Japan two years ago. On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit the country, causing a massive tsunami that led to the collapse of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Tragically, due to ongoing radiation leakage, it’s devastating impact on the people and environment around it, will continue for years to come.
“I decided to create a film that would only be possible to realize within the decommissioned nuclear cooling tower at Satsop. When I first visited the site in 2012, I became anxious as I approached the facility, but once I entered Cooling Tower #3, which became my filming location, I experienced something unexpected – a complete transformation of my emotions. The structure of the tower and the space within it was overwhelmingly beautiful and truly inspirational. I felt like I was embraced by something unseen. I puzzled over this experience because of the juxtaposition between nuclear power and sacredness, however it became my primary motivation to go back to the site to create a film, as it is my way to seek the answer.”
The words, prayer and purification kept coming back to my mind through the process of making of the film, and they became the cores of the message. The element of water is emphasized in the film, as it is significant in purification in Japanese rituals that often associate with prayer. Another crucial element is sound reverberation that suggests the cause and effect of nuclear production, and in a much broader sense, is the realization that a simple act can affect the surrounding environment and all living things. This cooling tower is also known for its amazing acoustic properties as an echo chamber due to its unique concrete structure and the cistern below. The sound created by simply clapping hands or dropping a stone on the floor becomes an almost emotional experience within the tower.
This project is supported by 4Culture and Jack Straw Cultural Center.